Positive COVID-19 tests rise in 8 regions: 4 CDC findings

National indicators measuring COVID-19 activity have increased since September, driven largely by more cases in the Southeast and Central parts of the U.S., according to the CDC's latest COVIDView report. 

Four updates:

1. Surveillance: The national percentage of positive COVID-19 specimens increased to 6.3 percent in the week ending Oct. 17, up from 5.6 percent a week prior. Test positivity increased for all age groups. Regionally, the percentage of positive test specimens increased in every HHS surveillance region except the Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Northwest regions. 

2. Outpatient activity: The national percentage of emergency room or outpatient visits for flu- or COVID-19-like symptoms remained stable in the week ending Oct. 17, after slowly increasing since mid-September. Seven of 10 regions saw visits for flu or COVID-19 remain stable or decrease. However, two regions (Midwest and Mountain) reported an increase in ED visits for COVID-19-like symptoms, and the South Central region saw a jump in visits for flu-like illness.

3. Mortality: About 7.6 percent of deaths nationwide were attributed to flu, pneumonia or COVID-19 in the week ending Oct. 17. This figure is declining but still above the epidemic threshold, which hovers around 6 percent. 

4. Hospitalizations: The cumulative hospitalization rate for all age groups increased to 193.7 per 100,000 population in the week ending Oct. 17. 

More articles on public health:
25 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Oct. 27
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: Oct. 27
COVID-19 hospitalizations up 40% from September; Texas plans field hospital, Utah discusses care rationing — 5 updates

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